Pity Sex’s appeal is a specific, distinct one. Feast of Love reminded that “shoegaze” is always only a couple steps away from wallowing “navelgaze,” and White Hot Moon continues down that path. Added to the fuzzy indie rock with a hint of slower pop-punk, there’s the dry, apathetic vocal delivery of a male-female duet that was just about everywhere in the late ‘00s (most notably in The XX). It’s not so much ‘you love it or you hate it,’ but rather you either love it or you are unaffected by it.
In that indie tradition, every track is in a major key and deals in quietly toxic relationships, depression, death and a slew of other bum-out topics. They separate themselves from the pack in this niche with specific images and stories. For instance, “Plum“s heartbreaking fruit-based story about co-lyricist Britty Drake’s parents: [LISTEN]
They also show some self-aware self-deprecation (an essential for any true wallower). Perhaps as a nod to some of the lyrical duds here — like “September”’s played out “Do you remember…you are September” lines that forever will belong to Earth Wind and Fire — co-lyricist Brennan Greaves calls himself the “King of Cliched songs” as well as a “little man with little dreams…watch him pout, watch him scream” on “Wappen Beggars.”
All of these serve to make White Hot Moon memorable inside of this genre, but not quite an exceptional ambassador for it. Yes, fuzzy indie rock has to rely largely on ‘90’s sounds by default. But the other influences — like the XX-y Mogwai-ish male, pretty female vocal combo — are also nothing too new. Similarly, most of this album’s yearning is done in a lyrically familiar way as well.
If you’d like to dwell on loves lost or have a good revel in your own misery, this is a good album for that. But, it won’t convince you to do so otherwise.